You have questions, so here are some answers about how you can use the library during our public closure due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Based on the latest information and updates from state and local officials about the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), as well as the City of Des Moines’ declaration of a state of emergency in March, Des Moines Public Library administration made the decision in March that closing our six buildings was in the best interest of public safety.
HOW MUCH LONGER WILL THE LIBRARY BE CLOSED?
Library administration is working with city and county officials and the Library Board of Trustees to reassess the situation and determine when it is best to reopen safely. As of this time, all in-person library programs and activities are canceled until further notice. Library administration is working hard behind the scenes with city, county, and state officials, as well as the DMPL Board of Trustees, to determine how and when to safely offer more services moving forward. Reopening the library will be a deliberate, step-by-step process. Safety is our top priority.
The first phase of this process began with the reopening of our book returns and the start of our new Curbside Pickup service. Beginning June 22, visitors could reserve a public computer station to use for 45 minutes at a time at Central Library only.
Beginning Monday, July 6, we will have expanded curbside pickup hours at all locations.
CAN I PLACE A HOLD ON NEW MATERIALS?
Yes! Library cardholders can now place new holds on materials using the online catalog on our website, or by calling us at (515) 283-4152. Patrons will be notified when their items are ready to be picked up, beginning Monday, June 1, using our new Curbside Pickup service.
HOW DOES CURBSIDE WORK?
Check out our Curbside Pickup FAQ page for all the answers to all of your questions.
IF I DON'T KNOW WHAT BOOKS I WANT, CAN YOU HELP FIND SOME FOR ME?
Yes! Our new Book Chat team is dedicated to doing just that. Find out how to contact them HERE.
MY ACCOUNT SAYS I HAVE A HOLD BUT IT IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR PICKUP. WHAT DO I DO?
Please do not arrive at the library for your materials using curbside pickup until we have contacted you to let you know they are ready. Until you receive a notification from the library, your holds are NOT going to be ready for pickup and we will not be able to help you.
WHAT ABOUT BOOKS I HAVE THAT ARE DUE?
Due dates for materials that are due March 16 and beyond are extended until July 1. If an item was due before March 16, we will not extend due dates, but those materials will NOT accrue any additional fines until after we reopen. You can still pay current fines online.
SHOULD I BRING MY BOOKS AND DVDS BACK TO THE LIBRARY?
As of Tuesday, May 26, all book drops at all library buildings are now open, so you can return those books, DVDs, CDs, and more that you've been keeping in your homes. You can NOT return books to staff during curbside pickup. All materials must be returned using only the book drops at each of our buildings.
We are also asking that you do not place any donated items into our book returns. We are unable to accept donations of books, DVDs, and other materials at this time.
WHAT ABOUT FINES AND FEES?
All late fees on new materials that will be checked out have been suspended until library buildings reopen to the public. Late fees are also suspended on materials originally due back during the library’s closure. In addition, the $1 checkout fee for DVDs are also temporarily waived until we fully reopen our buildings.
If you currently have fines and fees on your account that prevent you from checking out materials, those will need to be paid before using our curbside service. Please call us at (515) 283-4152 if you have questions about your account.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I LOSE A LIBRARY ITEM?
After 45 days past due for books and CDs, and 25 days past due for DVDs, items that are not returned are considered lost. Patrons will be charged the full cost of the lost item. You are able to return the lost item within a calendar year to avoid being charged its full cost, but there may still be charges applied.
WHAT IS THE LIBRARY DOING TO ENSURE BOOKS ARE SAFE TO BE CHECKED OUT?
All returned library materials will be quarantined for three business days before returning to library shelves or being checked out to the next patron.
CAN I USE A COMPUTER AT THE LIBRARY YET?
A limited number of public computers will be available for public use BY APPOINTMENT ONLY at Central Library. Visitors MUST reserve the computer in advance, by calling (515) 283-4152, or reserving online HERE. Masks must be worn inside the library at all times. A full list of rules, guidelines, available hours, and what is expected of visitors can be found HERE.
This service is only available at Central Library at this time.
CAN I USE THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION KIOSK AT CENTRAL LIBRARY?
Please call us at (515) 283-4152 to set up an appointment to use the kiosk. Kiosk hours can be found HERE.
CAN I STILL USE THE LIBRARY'S PUBLIC WIFI?
We know our public WiFi is important to many of our patrons, and while you cannot enter our buildings at this time for anything except public computer use by appointment, the WiFi is still turned on, and if you're willing to park outside or nearby to access it to get some work done, we encourage you to do so.
WHAT IF MY LIBRARY CARD IS SET TO EXPIRE WHILE YOU ARE CLOSED?
All cards with expiration dates beginning March 1, 2020 will be extended.
CAN I SIGN UP FOR A LIBRARY CARD DIGITALLY?
Yes! Due to the Des Moines Public Library being closed to the public, we are now offering people the opportunity to sign up for a digital library card. (NOTE: Cardholders must be a resident of Des Moines, Windsor Heights, or rural Polk County to access some digital resources, including streaming video and downloadable eBooks and eAudiobooks.) Sign up HERE.
WHERE CAN I FIND UPDATES ON THIS SITUATION FROM THE LIBRARY?
The latest updates can always be found here on our FAQ page. You can also get the latest information by following us on our social media pages – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And we will be emailing cardholders when we have major updates to share.